Published on April 18th, 2012 | by Wild Gender0
“The Goddess Within” Art Exhibit
NEW YORK, N.Y. — With wedding gown-clad reverberations between gender identity and the after life, the work of artist Hunter Reynolds is stark and glowing. His art will be on display in a show called Butur this month at the P.P.O.W Gallery in Chelsea.
Butur is Hunter Reynolds’ first solo exhibition with the gallery and will include his current projects and an installation of his work from the 1990’s when he performed extensively as his now legendary alter ego, Patina du Prey. For over twenty years Reynolds has been using photography, performance and installation to express his experience as an HIV positive gay man. His work addresses issues of gender, identity, socio-politics, sexual histories, mourning, loss, survival, hope and healing.
Butur is Mongolian for cocoon and is the place in which the internal alchemist is transformed and reborn. For the last three years Reynolds has been creating fire rituals at the Easton Mountain Retreat Center in upstate New York. Reynolds has created three ritual art making sites: The Beading Tree, The Art Tent and The Ash Field which are centered around a Fire Pitt. During celestial celebrations and purification ceremonies, often with participating guests of the retreat, Reynolds creates elaborately decorated fire alters made of fallen trees that are adorned with offerings. According to Mongolian tradition, once the offerings are burnt, the devotees are cleansed. Currently exhibited is a fire alter that has been recently burnt in a ritual that Reynolds has carved and sealed with glitter.
Using the remnants of the charred tree trunks, glitter, ash and burned objects, Reynolds furthers his mythopoetic iconography with a series of colorful collages, glitter masks and mandalas. Inspired by his deep connection to the cycles of nature, native rituals and the spiritual subconscious, Reynolds creates these artworks to explore their healing capabilities.
Also exhibited will be a selection of iconic photographs from I-DEA, The Goddess Within, a historic collaboration of the performance art of Patina du Prey and documentary photography of Maxine Henryson. Their work together spanned 8 years and 25 performances done all over the world. During the years of the collaboration Reynolds’ diagnosis was a pending death sentence making the photographs a moving and poignant record of the years before HIV drugs were available. Patina existed as a mythical figure that deliberately disrupts gender icons in order to relate to the viewer as a shamanistic transgendered embodiment of fantasy and healing. Patina’s “Mourning Dress,” adorned by strips of photographed flowers appears as if ascending towards the heavens and marks the loss of Reynolds’ close friend to the AIDS virus.
Hunter Reynolds was born in 1959 in Rochester, Minnesota. Hunter Reynolds has been the recipient of many grants and residencies, including several Pollock Krasner awards. He has had numerous solo exhibitions including: Hallwalls, Buffalo, NY; White Columns, New York, NY; Artist Space, New York, NY; Simon Watson Gallery, New York, NY; Creative Time, New York, NY; Participant Inc., New York, NY; Momenta, Brooklyn, NY; Bernard Toale Gallery, Boston, MA; ICA Boston, Boston, MA; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, CA; NGBK Berlin, Germany; and Stadt DOCUMENTA, Kassel, Germany. He has been included in group exhibitions at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, NY; Santa Monica Museum of Art, Santa Monica, CA; Aldrich Museum of Art, Ridgefield, CT; Akademie der Kunste and Kunst-Werke in Berlin, Germany and more. The Fales Library and Special Collections/New York University recently acquired the archives of Hunter Reynolds for its Downtown Collection.